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Rubber stable mats

(37 Posts)
annieapple7 Wed 25-Jan-12 22:51:54

Hi tack room chums
Have just added up how shavings are costing me. A bale is £7.60 and being frugal, I get through a bale and half a week. For the 6 months the 2 horses are in, it will cost about £275.
Today I saw some rubber mats for stables, they are £45 for 6 x 4 feet and 18 mm thick. I have seen them cheaper too.
Does anyone use them? Apparently you don't need any bedding on top, maybe just a sprinkle to absorb wetness and just sweep away each morning.
I don't like the thought of the lying on rubber rather than soft shavings, but then they lie down on the ground outside don't they?
Any thoughts or advice?

littleStinky Wed 25-Jan-12 23:13:00

We use mats but put bedding down on top. Not as much bedding as you would put on a concrete floor but more than a sprinkle, many horses dont like the feeling of wee splashing onto their legs so they might hold it in if the bedding isnt enough to stop the splashes.
We stopped using shavings when they got too expensive a couple of years ago, we now use wood pellets, they are a bit dustier but a lot cheaper. We keep the dust down by sprinkling the bed with water and this works very well for us.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 25-Jan-12 23:22:24

How are you mucking out?
All of ours are on Hemcore, and generally use a bag a fortnight, more or less.
All poo is removed daily, using gloves and a bucket, and this helps keep the stable tidy, and you dont take out too much good stuff. The pee wicks down to the floor and collects. Wet is removed once a week, or fortnight, by scraping aside the dry and almost dry, and digging out the 'puddle'. We do this with shavings too. mucking out with a fork and removing wet every day is very wasteful. And really labour intensive!

Callisto Thu 26-Jan-12 08:10:36

We have horses on matting and shavings (and matting and straw) and it is better. We make a proper bed with walls in one corner of the stable so the horses can lie down (not many like to lie on rubber matting) and wee. We do muck out properly every day though and probably use 1-2 bales a week same as you.

Olderyetwilder Thu 26-Jan-12 09:32:14

We have one stable with mats, one without. Both have a good bed of straw for much the same reason as others: pony with matting hates wee splashing his leg and will hold it in. He also likes his home comforts and he's getting older so I indulge him. Both are mucked out daily as I like the bed up during the day so the floor dries. I think that leaving wee around could expose the ponies to amonia.

The only difference between the stable with mats and the one without is that the one with them smells and the one without doesn't. If we weren't at livery I'd have the mats out.

Butkin Thu 26-Jan-12 10:00:46

All ours are 50/50 mats and shavings. The front of their stables are mats which is wear they mostly stand, drink and eat hay. The backs of their stables are normal shavings beds where they lie and toilet.

Certainly saves on a full shavings bed and means that we only have to muck out half a stable. The hay droppings are easily swept off the rubber. we also have a rubber mat in our dog's kennel - we love them.

Make sure they are an exact fit though as you want them tight like a jigsaw otherwise shavings etc can work under them.

Shutupanddrive Thu 26-Jan-12 19:10:24

I don't like them. The rugs are always filthy and the horses don't like to wee/lie down on them. Then the wee goes underneath and you have to pull them out to scrub floor - unless you have very good drainage? Have you tried deep litter? Making a base of shavings and taking top layer/wet patches out every day instead of removing the whole bed? Is much cheaper, warmer and more comfortable for horse.

eaglewings Thu 26-Jan-12 19:13:45

Have worked in one stable where it has been really well fitted and it worked well, but in another we had to take the mats out and scub the floor and mats.

I echo going for deep litter as shut up describes

annieapple7 Thu 26-Jan-12 22:29:27

Thanks everyone. Food for thought. I skip out every day but find that after a week the wetness is coming through the middle so I clean that bit out every week and put fresh down.

The stable floor is concrete but not sloping so the wee wouldn't run away and I don't like the thought of it getting trapped underneath and really smelly!
How much did it cost you to put rubber matting down?

It is the wee that is the problem! I notice my horse likes to wee after supper before starting on his hay. Years ago my friend had a horse who would wee in a bucket or wait until he was let out into a field. When he was being kept in when he was lame, she would lead him out into the field where he would wee, then come back in, like a dog! Brilliant! He had the deepest, cleanest, fluffiest shavings bed you could imagine!

So next question, how can I train DH (Dhorse, not Dhusband) to wee in a bucket? I put a bucket under him when he "assumed the position" after we returned from a hack, and weed in it. Great, I thought. But then he kicked some of it over once he walked forward and then I spilled the rest down my leg, so it wasn't very successful!

annieapple7 Thu 26-Jan-12 22:30:21

What is Hemcore Saggy, where do you get it from and how much is it?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 26-Jan-12 22:44:04

Hemcore is the core of the hemp plant. Its very soft and comfy. It used to be a reasonable priced bed, but our local sellers have jacked the price up. It's now between £8.60 and £10.30 a bale. However it lasts incredibly well, is very absorbent and composts really quickly. I don't find that it smells horrid when it's wet. Our stables dont ever smell of ammonia! It stays down for ages, and the wet layer just gets darker and more composty.
We are more selective than most abou what we remove. There is a difference between the wet patch and just damp bedding. When it's mucking Out time, the old dark wet patch is removed, the newly damp bit is put in the middle of the floor and the new bed round the edges.
I'm shocked that anyone can go through 1.5-2 bags a week, even of shavings!

Mirage Fri 27-Jan-12 09:58:58

Snort at the horse weeing in a bucket,and you slopping it down your leg annieapple7.grin
Dpony will not wee anywhere but in her own field.In 6 months I have seen her wee while we are out of the field just once.She has a lovely stable with rubber matting and a deep bed of straw in one corner.Shame she won't use it.I left her in for 15 minutes once,whilst picking the dds up from school,and returned to find a concerned neighbour and sweated up pony.She had double barrelled the door,kicking a huge chunk out of it.hmm

annieapple7 Fri 27-Jan-12 14:14:57

Yes the only bonus was that it was very warm on a cold day Mirage!
All praise your pony - she is toilet trained! Perhaps you should leave a bucket in the stable for her to wee in!
But Saggy, isn't the bed damp if you don't take out all the wet? If you put clean on top, won't it just soak up the damp and get dirtier quicker?
Have not seen any Hemcore locally. Perhaps I am too fussy. But wet shavings do get smelly. And my horses are filthy beasts. Tab did 11 poos last night. Count them. 11. Roll on summer!

frostyfingers Fri 27-Jan-12 14:46:14

My dhorse is absolutely filthy in the stable no matter what system I use. He's had a minor tendon injury so I bought a rubber mat for hime to stand on whilst he was on box rest - he avoided it and stood in the corner instead. So I bought another and he decided it wasn't going to eat him - at night he had shavings covering all the stable, so half with a mat under and half without. When I go to him in the morning the whole lot is churned up - he digs holes - and I had to take 2 barrows out. After about a week he settled a bit and I got it down to taking out 1 barrow a day - but even being really careful and taking out all the wet and all the droppings it still stinks.

Luckily he's now back out again (although he's not impressed as he likes being in), the stable is better, but come some drier weather I will have to disinfect the whole lot. Deep litter won't work because of his digging so I just have to put up with it, and the time it takes.

He's filthy outside as well - he digs a wallow and then really rolls in it (and if it's rained and has water in so much the better), even with a longish rug, neck cover and snuggy hood the mud gets everywhere - inside his ears, eyelashes and up to his shoulders, he even rubs the front of his head face down in the mud.

Booboostoo Fri 27-Jan-12 15:16:53

When you put down the mats you have to seal the joints otherwise pee will get trapped under there and smell. If you seal the joints you don't have this problem - simple!

A cheap bedding solution is wood pellets. You can use a small amount under where they tend to wee. It takes minutes to clear up, it's very clean and very cheap.

The rubber mats are better insulating and warmer than, for example, straw on a concrete floor. Horses do not need to nest, they are perfectly happy lying down on flat ground naturally!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Fri 27-Jan-12 15:35:12

Nope. You get a kind of hard pad of bed under the layer of dry stuff. As it has soaked into the bed, it isn't wet as such. It really doesn't smell particularly! And definitely not of ammonia!

Mirage Fri 27-Jan-12 21:12:13

Annieapple7 perhaps you are right! Maybe she was desperate for a wee and that was why she kicked a hole in the door.I'm shock at 11 poos though,we get 7 in 24 hours,but that doesn't stop DH complaining when he has to poo pick.He swears someone lets an elephant into the field when we aren't looking.

Ponyofdoom Fri 27-Jan-12 22:54:42

I use Equimats in 3 of my 4 stables and they work really well. The stables do not drain (flat concrete) but the wee never goes underneath (tightly fitting) and I have never had to remove the mats to clean them. One of my horses doesn't wee in the stable (he didn't when on a full shavings bed either) so it takes about 2 mins to muck out; the others just do a wee in the corner and I sweep it out with a little water in the morning. I just use a sprinkle of paper shavings I get free from work, so zero bedding cost! No stinkier than straw. It seems very good for my 2 with dust allergies.

annieapple7 Sun 29-Jan-12 22:38:23

How do you seal them Booboostoo?

Booboostoo Mon 30-Jan-12 09:31:21

You can use liquid rubber sealant. You can get it pretty much anywhere.

annieapple7 Mon 30-Jan-12 22:32:37

Thanks that's useful.

mdoodledoo Tue 14-Feb-12 23:15:01

I've had mats fitted for many years now but my gelding was diagnosed with COPD a few years ago and since then I've ditched all bedding because of the dust. It was a shock to my system for sure and I challenged the vet with my 'he won't be comfortable' argument but he blew holes in that v quickly with his 'he doesn't have any bedding in the field all summer long & he seems happy to lie down to rest out there' reply!

A few years on & I'm now in the groove of mats without bedding & my boy is happy. He doesn't like the wee splashing thing either, but generally has a wee every night that he's in so I'm not worried about him holding himself.

I've fitted the mats in three stables now and in the first two I took the time to get them well fitted from edge to edge and they were easy to keep clean. In my current stable they were fitted in a hurry and not fully fitted wall to wall, the few inches gap against one wall didn't cause any problems in the first Winter & a half, but the mats have shifted this year and the seal between them has been broken - I'm going to have to take them up in the Spring to clean and refit them because they're starting to smell.

I generally swill them out with water every day - which is a bit of a pain, but without that I don't get the wee cleaned away because my stable floor is flat - if you've got something with a slight slope it would drain easily enough. This takes a few minutes but on the plus side they're so quick to muck out - scoop, sweep, swill, sweep - done! I can do it all in a few minutes and no bedding costs.

My horse's COPD has been a difficult condition to learn to manage - but a silver lining has been that I've learnt so much about the respiratory system and am now a massive advocate of keeping horses outside as much as possible and keeping dust to a minimum - and using no bedding helps that massively.

dappleton Wed 15-Feb-12 10:31:44

i'm thinking of getting mats too. I have massive problems finding a good supply of good quality bedding at a reasonable price over here. I was a bit put off when reading a few of these posts but mdoodledoo is making me think this is the answer to all my problems. Ahhhh decisions, decisions...

Loshad Thu 16-Feb-12 19:02:46

i have mats, but use dust extracted chopped straw on over the top, don't like the smell and the mucky rugs without any bedding. I just skip out daily and remove the wet patches at weekends.
The stables are much warmer with the mats in.

gondolo Tue 28-Feb-12 08:06:24

There's a company in Coventry who do budget mats. Google coventry stable mats. What we do with ours is have a couple of mats and banks of shavings round edge of stable. The mats are easy to lift so stable can air & floor can dry etc. confused
The cheapest way is to leave your horse out! My eventer (fully clipped) made that decision for himself as he doesn't do well when stabled- the £200 for top of the range rug was well worth the saving in shavings, time, hay and hassle! grin

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